Drought cuts tea production in Q1

Tea production, tea farm

A drought in many parts of Kenya’s farming areas has cut its first-quarter tea production by more than a third from a year earlier to 90.09 million kg, the Tea Board said on Thursday.

Kenya is the leading exporter of black tea in the world and the commodity is one of the top foreign exchange earners for East Africa’s biggest economy.

The drought, which left 2.7 million people in need of food aid, has also driven up prices of basic food commodities such as milk and vegetables, hitting consumers hard.

“According to the weather forecast by the Kenya Meteorological Services, lower production is expected to be recorded throughout the year,” the board said in a statement.

The average price of the crop at the auction rose to $3.01 (Sh310) per kg from $2.50 (Sh257) a year earlier, the regulator Tea Board of Kenya said.

Pakistan, Egypt, United Arab Emirates are among the top buyers of Kenyan tea.

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